Support and inspiration on the agenda as Festival of Female Entrepreneurs heads West again

October 16, 2018

The Festival of Female Entrepreneurs is staged in the West of England this week for its seventh year to once again support women to build and grow sustainable businesses.

Hundreds of women self-starters are expected to attend the day-long event in Bristol this Friday, October 19, to hear, learn from and be inspired by a range of local and national business leaders. 

Keynote speaker Emma Bridgewater set up her business in 1985, single-handedly sparking a revival in British-made pottery. In her first year she turned over £30,000, but by 2010 that had risen to £11m. Her firm now employs 350 people and exports all over the world.

Other inspiring speakers at the event in the Mercure Grand Hotel include Jaya Chakrabarti MBE, founder of Bristol-based digital strategy firm Nameless and open data supply chain register, and 70-year-old social media manager Angela Laws, who runs Trusted Housesitters.

There will also be a chance to hear about how to get investment with Bev James, the woman behind the business success of Body Coach Joe Wicks.

Emma Bridgewater said: “I am delighted to be a part of the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs, a lovely event that supports women starting businesses in Britain, something I am very passionate about. It is sure to be an interesting day and I look forward to hearing what the participants are working on.”

The Festival of Female Entrepreneurs is organised by small business support group Enterprise Nation, which is working with partner organisations to help women beat the so-called ‘confidence curve’ that prevents many getting access to finance.

This is reflected in data from 2016, which showed a significant gender gap when it comes to starting businesses – with just a fifth of Britain’s 5.4m small firms started by women.

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: “This event is a celebration of all the talented women out there who are starting and running world-class businesses across Britain.

“They are challenging themselves at every turn and the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs will help them find inspiration, network and pick up new skills and ideas to take them to the next level.”

The Festival of Female Entrepreneurs is again supporting the Female Start-Up of the Year Award, with the final taking place at the event and the winner crowned live on stage.

Bristol entrepreneur Ruth Bradford, who launched The Little Black and White Book Project hopes to follow in the success of two other female entrepreneurs from the city that won the title in its first two years.

Ruth’s mission is to inspire the next generation of animal lovers and conservationists from as early an age as possible with black and white baby books, flash cards and prints that bring to life animals from all over the world as high contrast illustrations.

Ruth believes exposing children to the amazing wildlife on our planet is the best hope of protecting it for the future. A quarter of the profits from every product is donated to wildlife and conservation charities worldwide.

For tickets to the festival, visit

 The full festival agenda is:

10.05am: Doing good while doing business: Jaya Chakrabarti MBE

Co-founder of Nameless media group and a passionate advocate for engaging business with community through technology to improve lives, Jaya shares her thoughts on why doing good while doing business can lead to success.

10.30am: Access to money and mentors

Looking to raise funds? In search of a mentor for your business? This panel provides the answers to your questions.

Bev James, one of the UK’s most famous business mentors, has mentored entrepreneurs and athletes to millionaire status including Joe Wicks, The Body Coach

Katie Massie-Taylor, co-founder of parent-tech app Mush, has raised £2m to help in her mission to better connect mums

Representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales

11am: Coffee break

11.30am: The secret sauce of family-owned businesses

An increasing number of people are starting businesses with their nearest and dearest. A panel of experts and entrepreneurs share their insights into this challenging but rewarding journey

Seb Sokol and Amber Fraser-Sokol, co-founders of healthy snack company Brave Peas

Elizabeth Bagger, executive director, Institute for Family Business

Patricia Bacon, founder, Couplepreneurs

12pm: Selling a service

A panel of experts share their top tips for running a service-based business: 

Amanda Ruiz, Amanda Ruiz PR and Enterprise Nation adviser member

Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business

Sarah Goulbourne, co-founder of law firm, Gunnercooke

Karelle Lamouche, SVP marketing, guest relations and commercial divisions – AccorHotels UK & Ireland, ‎AccorHotels

12:30pm: Lunch 

1.30pm: Emma Bridgewater – 30 years in design.

Emma Bridgewater has become a household name having spent over 30 years building up a successful business that’s most recognisable in her trademark hand-decorated kitchen pottery. Emma was educated at London University where she read English Literature.

With no formal training in design or business. she nevertheless quickly established the company which now employs over 300 people. A refusal to outsource manufacturing to low wage economies abroad has led Emma to a role as a champion of British industry, something about which she feels very strongly.

2.10pm: She Means Business

When women succeed, the economy does better. A Q&A with inspiring female entrepreneurs:

Angela Laws, TrustedHousesitter
The 70-year-old social media manager shares her tips on personal confidence, motivation and a positive mental attitude. Angela came out of retirement to work for global start-up, TrustedHousesitter, which connects thousands of home and pet owners with care-orientated sitters who will look after their home and pets for free, in exchange for a place to stay.

Kelli Aspland and Laura Griffin, co-founders of co-Solar Buddies
The Solar Buddies applicator assists teachers and school staff in applying sun lotion to children in a safe and convenient way whilst having the benefit of less mess. Since its launch in 2015, it has proven a hit with adults too! The simple idea is now an award-winning product that’s sold worldwide.

2.40pm: Meet the journalists

A panel of local and national journalists share their tops tips on how to PR your small business:

Emma Broomfield, The Sunday Times

Frances Ambler, Oh Comely mag and The Simple Things

Hannah Baker, Bristol Post

Sue Bradley, Western Daily Press

3.10pm: Bringing a product to market, powered by Square 

Entrepreneurs in food, fashion and cosmetics share how they took their business from concept to market.

3.40pm: Female Start-up of the Year 2018 

Four judges will take to the stage to crown the Enterprise Nation Female Start-up of the Year 2018. They will receive amazing prizes to help them and their business flourish and grow.

4.10pm: Drinks reception 

5pm: Event ends

How much does it cost?

A one day ticket costs £50+VAT providing all-day access to the keynote stage, a separate exhibition and business advice zone, a hot networking lunch and an end-of-day drinks reception. 





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